Ontario Newsroom

Provincial Supports Encourage Responsible Consumption of Alcohol

Archived Backgrounder

Provincial Supports Encourage Responsible Consumption of Alcohol

Ministry of Health

The Ontario government is committed to supporting the safe and responsible sale, service and consumption of alcohol in the province. Ontario understands that selling alcohol is a public trust, and with that trust comes a strong sense of social responsibility. That is why the government will continue to develop initiatives to support the safe consumption of alcohol in Ontario. 

Ontario works with numerous partners to deliver various social responsibility programs and services across the province, including:

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

  • Funding to Ontario's 36 Public Health Units to develop local programs and policies to promote moderate and responsible alcohol use and reduce alcohol-related harm. This includes campaigns to raise awareness about alcohol misuse; partnering with primary health care providers to promote screening, brief interventions and referral initiatives; working with partners on local policy development; and developing local health status reports.
  •  Funding to over 170 community addictions treatment service providers for services, including community and residential withdrawal management, community counselling services, residential treatment and support, and supports within housing.
  • Funding to The Drug and Alcohol Helpline for a 1-800 phone service that provides 24/7, confidential, free information about drug and alcohol services in Ontario.
  • An expanded provincial Mental Health and Addictions Strategy to help more people access co-ordinated mental health and addictions services when and where they need them. Ontario's strategy includes increasing support to community mental health service partners and the establishment of a Mental Health and Addictions Leadership Advisory Council.
  • Training supports developed for First Nations mental health and addictions workers in First Nations communities will build and enhance workers' knowledge, competencies and skills capacity.

Ministry of Children and Youth Services 

  • A new cross-government Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Strategy, currently in development, will include approaches to maximize awareness of the effects of alcohol consumption prior to and during pregnancy.
  • The Aboriginal Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and Child Nutrition Program provides healthy lifestyle education, personal support and traditional cultural activities, promoting FASD prevention and healthy nutrition. It also produces community resource materials and offers professional development training on prevention and intervention to Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal social service providers, educators, and justice and medical personnel.
  • Best Start Maternal Newborn and Early Child Development and Resources Centre provides educational resources on FASD.

Ministry of Transportation

  • The Ignition Interlock works with drivers convicted of an impaired driving offence who are subject to having an ignition interlock condition applied to their driver's licence. In order to comply with this condition, drivers may refrain from driving during their ignition interlock period or enter into a monitoring agreement with one of the ministry's two service providers who will install the device and monitor its use in the vehicle.
  • Back on Track Program is an impaired driving education and treatment program delivered by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Drivers are required to participate if they have been convicted of an impaired driving-related offence or receive more than one roadside licence suspension for driving with a blood alcohol content from 0.05 to 0.08.
  • Medical Review Program requires any driver, who provides a breath sample that registers a blood alcohol content level from 0.05 to 0.08 more than three times, must undergo a mandatory medical evaluation. The program will determine whether the driver is alcohol dependent and whether further intervention is needed.
  • Zero Blood Alcohol Concentration is a requirement for all drivers under 22 and for novice drivers in Ontario. Those found with any blood alcohol will face a 24-hour roadside suspension and a minimum 30-day license suspension, if convicted.
  • Arrive Alive Drive Sober is a third-party program, supported by the province. The DriveSober organization provides leadership and programs to eliminate impaired driving.

Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services

  • Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere (RIDE) is an initiative of municipal and First Nations police services and the Ontario Provincial Police to intercept and remove impaired drivers from Ontario's roadways through the use of random vehicle spot checks. RIDE is supported by funding from the ministry.

Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO)

  • The AGCO regulates over 17,000 bars and restaurants in Ontario. Through a risk-based, outcome-based and compliance-focused approach, it helps ensure the safe and responsible sale, service and consumption of beverage alcohol.
  • With the expansion of beer sales to grocery stores, the AGCO will have responsibility for enforcing regulations associated with the responsible sale of alcohol in grocery stores, including designated sales areas, restricted hours of sale and rigorous training requirements for staff.
  • Those involved in the sale and service of beverage alcohol must undertake a board-approved training program to ensure the responsible handling and serving of alcohol for all servers in licensed establishments.
  • Sandy's Law is a mandatory signage requirement for certain premises to post signs, warning women that drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO)

  • Challenge and Refusal is an LCBO program supporting the prevention of alcohol sales to minors, intoxicated persons, and anyone attempting to buy for minors or intoxicated persons. In 2014-15, the LCBO challenged more than 13.5 million individuals. Over 439,000 people were refused purchase, 88 per cent for reasons of age. The LCBO's Check 25 program is another key responsible retailing program, ensuring vigilance in age checks of potential customers that look under the age of 25.
  • Deflate the Elephant isan innovative education program available online at deflatetheelephant.com. Featuring real-life, aspirational examples, Deflate the Elephant shows how to be responsible hosts and to prevent guests from drinking and driving. The site has myths and facts about alcohol, tips for holding car keys and responsible serving, tips on confronting guests who are behaving irresponsibly, as well as recipes for alcohol-free cocktails. The program is promoted via social and traditional media. 
  • Support for key MADD Canada campaigns including advertising the School Assembly Program and Project Red Ribbon. In December 2014, LCBO customers and staff raised a record $2.3 million for MADD Canada, enabling the fourth consecutive year of presentations at no cost to 1,500 schools across Ontario.
  • Decade-long partnership with Best Start Resource Centre, helping to prevent fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) by promoting alcohol-free pregnancy via multilingual resources throughout LCBO's provincewide store network.
  • The Parent Action Pack, developed with partnership support from Parent Action on Drugs, is a free toolkit available online with more than half a million copies in print. Focused on guiding teenagers to make healthier and safer decisions, the toolkit is full of essential facts and talking points about alcohol and other drugs, along with effective strategies to help parents have meaningful discussions with teens.


  • Canada's Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines received support in November 2011 from Ontario's Minister of Health and Long-Term Care and all Federal, Provincial and Territorial health ministers. The guidelines promote a culture of moderation and provide consistent messaging to promote informed alcohol choices and responsible alcohol use. Since 2011, the LCBO has partnered with key organizations, such as the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse. The LCBO has produced more than 1.2 million brochures of the Guidelines, promoting them through the LCBO's consumer publication, website and retail stores across Ontario.   

Media Contacts

  • Polina Osmerkina

    Minister’s Office


  • David Jensen

    Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care




Government Health and Wellness